Viaggio Intorno al Mondo fatto dalla Nave Inglese Il Delfino Comandata dal Capo-Squadra Byron…

Viaggio Intorno al Mondo…
Viaggio Intorno al Mondo fatto dalla Nave Inglese Il Delfino Comandata dal Capo-Squadra Byron…

Firenze: Giuseppe Allegrini, 1768.

Square octavo, engraved frontispiece, 4, 152 pp., untrimmed, in plain modern boards.

The towering Patagonians

Uncommon contemporary Italian edition of the famous account of Byron's circumnavigation by Charles Clerke. As would be expected, the edition includes an excellent new version of the famous frontispiece of an English sailor offering a towering Patagonian couple a biscuit. First published in London in 1767, and quickly followed by a French translation, this Italian edition is very scarce. It would appear to be based on the first London edition (because it does not include a short appendix that was included in the second London edition, also of 1767).

Uncommon contemporary Italian edition of the famous account of Byron's circumnavigation by Charles Clerke. As would be expected, the edition includes an excellent new version of the famous frontispiece of an English sailor offering a towering Patagonian couple a biscuit. First published in London in 1767, and quickly followed by a French translation, this Italian edition is very scarce. It would appear to be based on the first London edition (because it does not include a short appendix that was included in the second London edition, also of 1767).

This famous unauthorised account of "Foul-Weather Jack" Byron's command of the Dolphin on the 1764-66 circumnavigation of the globe was published anonymously but is usually attributed to midshipman Charles Clerke who later sailed on all three of Cook's voyages. Byron's voyage to the Pacific was the first major English voyage in the region since Anson, and would become the first part of Hawkesworth's famous compendium of South Sea voyages. This account became the basis for a dozen or more European editions and translations over the next twenty years. Clerke later served with Captain Cook on all three of his voyages, succeeding him as commander of the third voyage but shortly after dying of tuberculosis at Petropavlovsk in August 1779.

Byron's expedition was an important precursor to the voyages of Wallis, Carteret and Cook, but its immediate contemporary impact was the sensation created by rumours of Patagonian giants encountered by the expedition. These tall stories gained currency from a report sent in jest by Clerke to the Royal Society (and printed in the Philosophical Transactions for 1767), and from a similar account published in this book. Extraordinarily, the stories seem to have been encouraged by the British government to divert attention from Byron's taking possession of the Falklands (Malvinas), politically the most sensitive and controversial aspect of his voyage. The amusing affair of the Patagonian giants embroiled many great figures of the Enlightenment including Voltaire (see discussion by Helen Wallis in Byron's Journal, ed. Gallagher, appendix III, and by P.G. Adams, Travelers and Travel Liars, ch. II).

Hill, 311-2 (English and French editions only); O'Reilly-Reitman, 243.

Price (AUD): $2,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4305431

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